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The Emotions of Fringe

August 25, 2013 1 comment
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These are a number of little thoughts and phrases I jotted down throughout my tour. The emotions of being on tour.

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I literally collapsed within my first few days on the tour. Stress, sickness, low blood pressure, and a particularly poorly chosen hot bath.

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“Damn you for making me cry.”

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Someone in Toronto told me they loved me. In that way. They meant it, with all the power of sincerity.

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Two starred reviews. 3 stars in London, 4.5 stars in Saskatoon. The first, other artists apologize to you for, for some reason. The second, they cheer you on, all day long.

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English: Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Wikipedia)

That giddy grin for no reason whatsoever.

That giddy grin for oh so many reasons.

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Laughing home on a borrowed bicycle at 3am.

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Performing for three people (two performers and a volunteer) in London. Performing for 45 people in Saskatoon. Getting the standing ovation.

I don’t care if standing ovations don’t mean what they used to. They still mean a lot to me.

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Getting teary-eyed onstage. Having your story honestly hit yourself in the feels.

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For the past decade, I have been asking myself, ‘where is home’? This summer, I felt kisses of it all across the country. Let me tell you stories. Lead me into your home. Let’s be together, and if it’s only for a short time, then we’ll make that time mean something. Home is a loving invitation.

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“If you haven’t seen The Hatter, GO SEE THE HATTER! It’s incredible.”

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A guy came to see my show. Throughout the week, he was staffing a street store as a favour to a merchant friend of his. After the show, this man went out of his way to track me down and get a stack of handbills from me, so he could pitch my show to people who came to buy things from him.

He later told me he used to work in a prison. The job took its toll on him, including him finding a number of suicides, which traumatized him quite severely, to the point where he didn’t leave his house for years. Eventually, slowly, with many tiny steps, he began to reintegrate with the rest of the world, a process he is still working through. The street crowds intimidated him, but to be out in the sun left him gloriously shouting joy to the heavens. He told me he could really relate to Earnest and The Hatter, to the idea of hiding down a rabbithole. That my show really touched him.

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“Oh yeah, that actress told me she might hook up with you.”
“Why didn’t she tell ME?”

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“My last bus comes in twenty minutes. Am I taking the last bus home?”

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The Hatter is the story of a man trying to get home. Desperately, desperately trying to get back home.

In hindsight, I would’ve thought that taking such a show on tour would have made me more homesick.

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“You have so much talent, and it would be a shame for you to miss out on even one opportunity to hear that. You are a brilliant actor, but also a positively amazing writer. Your show made me feel something, and that’s what good theatre should do. Thank you for that. I hope you know how much your art matters.”

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My show gets emotional. I imagined it, I wrote it, and I’m performing it. Which means that through all of it are real emotions, which, when shared through the art of storytelling, create a sort of lopsided level of intimacy between myself and each person in the audience. Which is an odd way to kickstart a relationship.

I say kickstart, because after the show is over, these lovely audience members already now know enough about me to know whether or not they want to have a conversation with me, before I’ve even met them. I don’t need to go through the other half of ‘here’s who I am’. They’re strangers to me, while I am now someone ‘known’ to them. This means I can keep the first conversation I have with them, about them. It was really quite refreshing to jump into conversations with complete strangers with an eager curiosity, knowing that that they’ve already seen much of what makes me, me.

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They’ve already seen my heart.

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My Childhood Dirge, aka, the song I’ve kept in my head

August 15, 2013 Leave a comment

This is an audio post. I have post-Fringey posts on the way, but until then, I wanted to share a song that has been in my head for as long as I can remember. Let me know your thoughts.

The Hatter is a 4.5/5 star show! Wow!

August 5, 2013 5 comments
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I don’t really have a blog post to go along with this, other than to say that for all we artists aren’t supposed to listen to reviews, it is SO validating to see the work I’ve put into this show over the past couple of months take it from a three star show in London to 4.5/5 stars here in Saskatoon!

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Go take a read!

Actor Andrew Wade shows fantastic range, flipping a switch between wackiness and depression.

“Why can’t we let fantastic things be,” he asks in tears.

Perhaps because they weren’t meant to last, is the silent reply.

In short, you’d be mad to miss this play. – The StarPhoenix

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I would like to contrast this with the first review I ever received for a fringe show, back in 2011, when I performed William vs. The World at Victoria Fringe, and my only review said that “Even sympathetic narcissists should avoid this show.”  Why do I want to contrast it in this way? Because I love the feeling of progress, I suppose.

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The Hatter began as a cobbled together series of experiments in Vancouver, two years ago, and then went on to London Fringe, where for three of its first four performances, THERE WASN’T A SINGLE PAYING AUDIENCE MEMBER IN THE HOUSE. That’s right, three of my first four performances this summer went to tiny houses of strictly media/volunteers/other-performers, all of whom were watching it for free. And since then I have worked on the show, refined elements of it, added in a scene previously cut, and through Ottawa and Toronto, figured out just what its emotional core, its soul, really is. Financially, in both cities I didn’t quite break even, but the show was progressing. I could feel it. And my pitches on the street were also improving.

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Not going to lie, I am loving it here in Saskatoon right now. The street festival atmosphere is fantastic, people yell things at me left and right on the street (due to my costume), the locals are lovely, I’ve had many people ask to take photos with me, people are enjoying my show, and now a review that just blows me out of the water.

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Well played, Saskatoon. Well played. I shall certainly come here again. And I get to enjoy your company for four more performances and seven more days!

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Cheers,

Andrew Wade

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The Reunion

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

The Reunion

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I just woke up from an almost impossibly happy dream.

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It took place in my childhood backyard (albeit expanded to hold the scene), and it was simple, as simple as can be, without plot, or storyline, or framework. All it was, was a reunion of people I’ve known, an endless stream of happy, laughing, delighted people from my past, streaming in groups through the open glass doors from the living room out into the backyard. Most of them were from my high school, with Matt Kuchinsky’s laugh echoing above them all, plus a number from elementary school besides, and even a cadre of my older brother’s friends from before he moved away to England, eleven years ago. There may have been hundreds of people, many of whom I don’t even remember their names, stepping out of my house’s glass doors and into the backyard to the joyous cheers of others who knew them, sitting down in the grass and conversing, laughing, grinning from ear to ear, most people dressed their best in suits and long, colourful dresses. High school social groups (to which I didn’t think I belonged), people I entered into French Immersion with when I was twelve, people whose faces were welcome but with whom I couldn’t recall ever having a good conversation.

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Our Hedge

One of the first digital photos I ever took, back in April 2001.

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If there was any exclusivity to this reunion, it may have been that they had to be people I might now consider obscure – not individuals from my seven years at university, but all of them from times before all that. This wasn’t a gathering of the people who mean the MOST to me – indeed, were that the case, there were many conspicuous absences (though my mother WAS there, with a few remarks just undercutting enough to make me chuckle), but instead, a gathering almost entirely of people I haven’t seen in years, many in over a decade, still flaunting their personalities somehow, Kieran Watson still sheepish-but-charming, Aisha with a dazzling grin, my brother’s friends still somehow a foot taller than I, still moving together like a friendly wolf-pack. And The Reunion made no pretence of being anything other than what it was – it told me it was a dream, it shouted its dreamness to me, and just asked that I accept it and embrace it. If I looked in one direction and then turned back, the landscape of people changed. In the middle of it all, I found myself occasionally trying to think of someone obscure, then of course found them in the crowd, OF COURSE they were here, smiles all around.

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Karlee and Aisha and I.

Karlee and Aisha and I.

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The sky itself was an undulating shift of colours, though mostly blue. As it turned a beautiful, luminous wave of greens, I knew the gathering neared its end. I turned to Emily Lomas – again, someone I haven’t seen in I don’t know how long – and offered a hug, but she and a number of other ladies were now in tall, layered, green dresses fit for royalty at a ball, dressed up to leave. She mentioned something about how the dress would poke at her, and when I turned back, the rest of the backyard had emptied, and the sky was a deep, bright green, and I knew it was over. I opened my eyes.

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And more, and more, and more.

And more, and more, and more.

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I know dreams don’t necessarily have meanings, that they are often a connection of whatever we were thinking of last before we slept, synapses firing and connecting almost at random to form something the brain tries to collect and cohere, but…

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But this felt like something, The Reunion itself, perhaps, was trying to tell me something. Or show me something. Or perhaps just reassure me that for all that I’ve forgotten, there exists a monument to old tribes, an endless stream of so very many happy, lovely, wonderful echoes of individuals sitting in a grassy backyard somewhere in the back of my brain, laughing and chatting and cheering, unforgotten, delighted to be there, having the best time of their lives.

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And why were they all so happy?

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Why was it all so happy?

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The Hatter vs. The Reviews!

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Okay, not so much The Hatter VERSUS The Reviews, given how positive they have been!

Let’s look at how The Hatter has fared with more write-ups from Ottawa and Toronto!

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The HatFirst, a late review from Meaghan Flaherty at New Ottawa Critics:

The script is well written and interesting, as Wade jumps from one creative medium to the next: songs, to poetry, to monologues, to audience participation. He manages to keep the audience guessing about what exactly it is that he’ll do next.

Wade also successfully plays many of the most beloved characters from Wonderland. He gives each one just enough of its designated personality so that the audience is able to recognize each one without the Hatter having to tell us.

She admittedly does mention the limited technical side of the show, but that’s what happens when you perform in a church gymnasium without a lighting rig!

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Post-show eyes.

Post-show eyes.

Next up, the lovely Charlebois Post’s Lisa McKeown had this to say:

The Hatter is a kind of sad clown – trying to befriend the audience but clearly suffering from some kind of internal conflict that he’s attempting to avoid.

The writing is clever and Andrew Wade’s performance is comedic but containing a depth that allows the audience to identify with him despite the clownish façade.

Definitely a good one to catch, especially if you’re feeling whimsical or are in the mood for a little audience participation.

Personally, I LOVE that she called me a sad clown! I’ve never gotten to be a clown before! I mean, sure, I have played physically over-the-top characters before, but to be called a clown fills me with an illogically grand amount of glee. Been spending too much time with actual trained-as-clowns performers like Aji from Geek Life and Ask Aggie’s Christine Lesiak, clearly. 🙂

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The Visitorium didn’t write up a full review, but he sent me this kind twitter comment:

@AndrewActs ‘ HATTER is a good time indeed…great storytelling, fantasy, and a lovely cuppa tea. #ottfringe

So that was kind of him.

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Hatter Poster - Saskatoon - for printerAnd finally, Mike Anderson at Mooney on Theatre wrote me an appropriately strange and wonderful review, written as a personal letter to me:

Did you notice how, any time you got to improvise, the audience would involuntarily lean forward in their seats? I know actors who would kill their own mothers to have an audience do that for them. It’s great!

We want to ride that wave with you, Andrew. We want to share in the joy you clearly take from working with a lively audience, from the unpredictability of live theatre, from the freedom you have when you aren’t dependent on light and sound cues to convey your message. When you get out there and act freely, the effect is phenomenal.

Seriously, possibly my favourite review I have ever received. I even took it as constructive criticism and used it to improve my run in Toronto! Heresy, I know! But that’ll have to wait for another blog post (possibly in a few days time!)

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Thank you everyone for all your support; this tour has been a wild and crazy ride thus far! Only Saskatoon remains! Bring on the 43 hour long greyhound trip.

Wait, HOW LONG DID I SAY THAT WAS? Really wishing I could have afforded that train-ride or plane ticket right about now.

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade

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The Day it all felt Normal

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Today’s the day it all felt normal, the planning for the next step on the strip, for the next place, deciding how to say goodbyes and to whom. Who to connect with online to keep a presence in some distant corner of their heart or mind. A continuation of a cycle of coming and going, beginnings and endings held so close together so as to almost be the same thing, life a series of events instead of an ongoing flow of chapters.

Life touring alone with the Fringe is short and lovely, because you need to pounce on any love that’s available and seize it for now, because tomorrow is too close for planning.

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(This post is what happens when you combine a first fringe tour with a first read of Neuromancer by William Gibson. Apparently.)

Andrew Wade answers The Question (London+Ottawa Fringe)

This week I was asked by The Charlebois Post to answer a question. I thought I would post my response to it now, as I wrote it a few days ago, and it is already a little out of date, as Ottawa Fringe has just come to a close. Enjoy!

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The Question:
Since you’re half-way through touring The Hatter, how would you describe the overall experience of presenting it in London and Ottawa. Any differences in audience reaction or in any other way?

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It’s hard for me to separate my experiences of performing in each city from my feelings towards being on a Fringe tour overall. London Fringe, as my first stop, was all about getting my bearings. I haven’t travelled much, and I fell ill for three days right off the plane, including passing out, naked, on the floor of my billet’s bathroom. Not only that, but it was a new show! My first London performance was the first time I had ever performed The Hatter. I was memorizing lines up until showtime, with scenes jumping around and switching places for the first few performances.

Hatter Poster - Toronto - for printer 2That being the first time I had presented the material, during my time in London I was also feeling out the character of The Hatter and his personal arc. Some of the aforementioned accidental scene switch-ups, I decided I liked, so I have since implemented them. I also found a slew of other lines which I didn’t really need to say, managed to reintroduce an old scene, and occasionally enjoyed my on-the-spot paraphrasings so much that I’ve edited them into the play. So everything onstage evolved rapidly in London.

Due to being given a small venue, they also allotted me more showtimes, which meant I was performing essentially almost every single day – only one day off – so most of my time was spent in pre-show prep/flyering and post-show recovery. While I did once manage to meet up with an old friend, but there was far less downtime to this whole ‘performing in Fringe Festivals’ thing than I had previously anticipated.

Other than my lovely billets, I also didn’t interact much with the locals. A few nice conversations, but mostly I hung around with a handful of other performers who I knew or was getting to know. Quite a lot of solitary time – which I didn’t really mind, surprisingly.

By now, with only a few days left in Ottawa, I think I am finally adopting the necessary mindset towards socializing while touring – something I’d been missing in London. Ordinarily at the back of my mind with every conversation I’m having is a radar scanning along, looking for hooks, ways to continue the relationship between myself and the other person. How can this association, this friendship, this relationship, be maintained, continued into the future? But that doesn’t work so well when you know you’re leaving town in a week’s time, and aren’t sure you’re ever coming back.

Hattersquare600x600So instead, Fringe is making me be more present than before. This conversation with a local which I am having right now, this conversation is its own encapsulated moment, never to be repeated. It can only be enjoyed now for what it is, because it isn’t the precursor to something else down the road. It just is what it is, straight up, hold the ice. And it’s the same for them! I am just a travelling performer, rushing through their town, and yet they still want to talk to me. I guess that makes me interesting.

Being in a BYOV, I am still performing almost every day here in Ottawa, moving from ten performances in London to nine here, to seven in each of Toronto and Saskatoon. One big personal goal of my fringe tour was to allow myself to enjoy travelling, and while I’ve gone to the house of commons and the supreme court, I’m finding I’m more engaged by chatting with people and asking them what they think of their city. Ottawa’s winters are too long but they couldn’t imagine a life without snow. The only jobs are government jobs, but the place throws great parties and is kept young by all the universities. I’ve never seen a city with so many police cars, but I suppose that makes sense.

As to the show itself, adapting it from a tiny room to a church auditorium had its share of surprising elements. I still find myself occasionally waiting for lighting cues which existed in London, but couldn’t be done in Ottawa, and due to the resonating echoes of the room, I actually need to perform more quietly in the auditorium than I ever did in London.

The Hatter @ Nuit Blanche in London, ONAs for the audiences… to be honest, I am just over-the-moon thankful that I have audiences. My first two performances in London, the only people coming to the show were volunteers, fellow performers, and media. Not a single ticket sale. Great for workshopping, not so great for not-becoming-financially-destitute. Then on the third day, fifteen paying audience members. I can’t say I kept up the third day’s numbers for the rest of the run, but until then, I admit my worries were getting the best of me. Ottawa’s audiences, hopefully due to the generally positive press I’ve been receiving, have been slightly more numerous. With BYOV venue fees, I won’t break even on this stop, but this trip was always designed as my ‘tuition’ for learning how to tour with a show. Next year I’ll earn my profits. 🙂

I love meeting people on the street in Ottawa. London-folk are lovely, but the number of times Ottawans have asked if they can have a picture with me (in full Hatter garb) really brings a smile to my face. Yet for all that gregariousness, Ottawa audiences are also far less willing to sing along with The Unbirthday Song. Interesting divide, there. (NOTE FROM FUTURE ANDREW: My final audience in Ottawa was LOVING singing that song. Go figure.)

In both cities, I have made fans of my work, and with every other performers’ shows I see, I get little glints of inspiration, ways to continue to explore this play, tweak it, refine it. Watching Nancy Kenny‘s excellent Delores reminded me to pay attention to the main relationship within The Hatter, while Kurt Fitzpatrick’s Cathedral City and Bruce Horak’s Assassinating Thomson have a new show slowly building itself in the sunshine nook of my mind.

Which I suppose means I’ll need to do this crazy Fringe Festival thing again next year. What a daunting, exciting, intimidating, and thrilling notion.

Before then, however, I have seventeen performances in two and a bit Fringe Festivals (FUTURE ANDREW: Okay, two festivals. Plus possibly Nanaimo now?), one theatresports performance on Canada Day (FUTURE ANDREW: Which was AWESOME), at least fifty-five dreaded hours on greyhounds, and whatever else crops up (Nanaimo?) before this summer ends.

Hope to see you in Toronto or Saskatoon.

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Cheers,
Andrew Wade,
The Hatter

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Hatter National Tour – Ottawa Edition

June 17, 2013 1 comment
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Nine hours of Greyhounds later, I arrive in Ottawa, lugging my two giant suitcases out of the bus, wishing I hadn’t packed such a props heavy show. But it’s a good show.

Hatter Poster - Ottawa - for printer 2The bus was an hour late, but my billets only live what should be a half-hour walk away. Outside the bus depot, I stop and put on an extra shirt to cover up from the chill night air, an hour chillier than I was expecting. While there, a taxi driver offers a lift. At a cost, of course, but as a minimum wage worker who expects to lose money during his stay in this town (due to Bring-Your-Own-Venue fees), eh, I’ll save the money and walk with all my gear.

I forget in that moment how uncomfortable it is to have a backpack heavily laden with a huge brick of a laptop. A backpack whose straps have each broken earlier in my tour, and so now are held on by uncompromising, unextendable duct-tape, so that one strap is longer than the other, creating quite a lot of strain on my left shoulder.

I immediately regret my decision not to just take the taxi.

Three or four short but-oh-so-long blocks later, I am passing by a Subway sandwiches restaurant when a woman in the parking lot, a propos of anything, offers me a ride to wherever it is I’m going. Clearly she could see my Sisyphian struggle rolling my body’s weight across the pavement, and took in my Mad Hatter’s hat, perceiving that I wasn’t a threat to her or her daughter.

I swear, traveling is just improving my already high opinion of strangers, tenfold. Just so gosh darn nice.

We stop at my new billet’s place, where the couple I am staying with, Dean and Ruth, are waiting outside on the porch to greet me. Them and their giant black dog. I thank my ride and leave them with a business card and promise to offer them comps, but they want to pay for tickets to support me. Hopefully I hear from them.

At this point, all I know about my billets are that they have a giant dog, that they don’t own a vehicle, and… and that the man looks and dresses like the prototypical Amish gentleman. Like someone who would be right at home at a barn-raising, right down to the impressive and impressively sculpted facial hair. I have an immediate wonder as to whether or not their home will have electricity.

Half an hour of conversation later (in the well-lit, not-at-all-a-barn home), I discover that my billet is a storyteller who will be performing a version of Moby Dick. Which explains the facial hair somewhat. (Though his wifi internet password DOES relate to Amish communities, not to be any more specific about it.)

(He is clearly a complex man.)

But here I am, in the nation’s capital, eager and ready to take in a new environment. I mean, London was nice, but if you had told me I was off in a corner of Victoria or somewhere slightly inland from Abbotsford, I might have believed you.

Jervis Tetch/The Mad Hatter as depicted in Bat...

Jervis Tetch (Wikipedia)

Thus far, I’m finding that people are genuine and kind to me wherever I go, and that most of the stores are the same across the country, or have near to identical analogues, anyhow. Far more similarities than differences, in all but the wildlife. Which makes sense. With the ready ease at which people can travel across this country, similarities and homogenous communities are bound to emerge. But the porcupine crossing the road outside Ottawa won’t make his way into Richmond any time soon, nor the beautiful magpie stuck in the Calgary airport terminal, or the large turtle outside the rest-stop midway between Toronto and Ottawa, unwilling to decide whether or not he dare try to cross the highway.

I’ve got a startling two more months left in my own migration pattern this summer. The odds of me actually going Mad doing all this traveling by myself are still rather high, for those of you taking bets. And this is apparently an absolutely no gluten household, which also doesn’t have a blender, so there goes essentially how I make all of my meals. SO! Got to figure out how to survive on more than apples and bananas. Hrmm.

This should be quite an interesting two weeks! With all that’s ahead of me, I really am looking forward to sharing The Hatter with this city, the capital.

In London, I was visiting a small city solely for Fringing purposes. In Toronto, I will be exploring the city where most of my classmates moved to, post-graduation, seeking a world of greater performing opportunities (both stage and film, nowadays) and greater government funding and support. (My beloved BC has more artists per capita than any other province, but by FAR the least amount of funding per capita for the arts.)

But Ottawa is different.

I don’t have a lot of childhood memories, I don’t think. But I do remember with some details my father’s ill-fated run for office with the Reform Party, back in, oh, 1994 or so. It’s only natural for boys to admire their fathers, but I had good reason to – he really wanted to be a public servant, to represent and help his constituents on the national stage, and while he may not have achieved that dream, that noble goal still resonates with me. In the background of my life I find myself quietly, slowly, training. A few years on Senate at UVic. A leadership role with Peer Helping. Studying political blogs and current affairs. All awaiting for that day when I’m in my 40’s when I may very well aim to be public servant in some capacity, at some level, myself. So, to find myself in Ottawa! Time for a little exploration, another building block to mount atop another.

But that goal is some sixteen years away. Let’s get back to the present. Back to a tea party. Back to a bed lined with giant dog hairs, my kind, not-Amish hosts, two overflowing suitcases, and three fringe festivals to prep for.

Hello, Ottawa! I have so looked forward to meeting you.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade,

The Hatter.

(P.S.: You can buy tickets to my show here!: http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/the-hatter )

London Fringe – Gratitude (The Hatter)

June 11, 2013 3 comments
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A hearty hello from overcast London, Ontario!

My first week on tour with The Hatter has been a whirlwind, strange and dangerous and wonderful and trying. But above all else, I am grateful.

So much to say and so little time to type it out, so I shall be rather stream of thought with this post. Let’s start with the flight from Vancouver to London, with a stopover in Calgary.

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PRO-TIP #1: When boarding an airplane, take note of how long they expect the flight will take. Consider that for the first and last half hour of the flight, you will NOT be allowed to go and use the restrooms. For a flight lasting only an hour and a half, this means a relatively short window during which you can relieve yourself. And YES, that turbulence on the way down will make the landing seem awwwwwwwfully long as it plays hopscotch with your bladder, and turn that seatbelts-on light into a demon dancing a merry jig above your head.

Magpie at the Calgary Airport

My first photo ever shared from my new i-Thingamabob.

I was only in Calgary for a couple of hours, so I stayed in the airport. In the terminal, a magpie (so someone said) was flying about, stealing fries and generally having a wonderful time.

For the flight from there to London, because I was flying stand-by… Westjet gave me one of the nice seats with extra legroom, and I even had the whole row to myself. Ah, economy class luxury. I decided to embrace the moment by watching some Business News Network on the back of the seat in front of me, to celebrate my economic upgrade in society.

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PRO-TIP #2: Flying stand-by isn’t difficult! And if there’s a better seat on the plane, they’ll probably give it to you! But if there isn’t a seat on the plane… well, make sure you have a phone number for your ride waiting at the other end.

Upon landing in London, as I waited for my luggage to come off the carousel (PRO-TIP #3: give yourself time to pack. Or you may end up doing it all in a frantic huff the night before and end up accidentally bringing three small towels), I was immediately confronted by another Fringe performer, the lovely Tara Travis, who recognized me from somewhere! Hah! So that was fantastic.

One of my fantastic billets (billeters?), Allister Cameron, who, along with his wife Carolyn, recently had one of their life experiences turned into a play by their son, Ken, picked up Tara and I from the airport, gave us a tour around town, and dropped us by the Fringe office. There, the lovely Kathy Navackas, whom I have never before met in person, immediately exclaimed my name and gave me a hug. Seriously. So much love.

So I went from the worry of traveling on my own to a city where I know no one except the performer I’m sharing my venue with (the marvelous Jeff Leard)… to chatting with a fellow performer at the luggage carousel, being toured around town, and given hugs by near-strangers!

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PRO-TIP #4: Hugs are awesome.

On the other side of the coin, throughout the flights and over the first couple of days, I was rather frantically trying to learn all my lines. Apparently speaking for fifty minutes straight is a lot of words. 😛

It really does help when they are YOUR words, but even still, it helps your tech person a lot in terms of hitting lighting and sound cues when you… paraphrase a little less than I was for the first couple of performances. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

When I landed in London, coming off the plane, I had a headache. Ah well, no worries. Three days later, come opening performance, the headache was STILL there. So, half an hour before my first performance, I did the reasonable thing and swallowed a tylenol, washed down with a glass of water, to ease the headache so I could perform without significant head-pain.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

PRO-TIP #5: DO NOT DRINK A LARGE AMOUNT OF LIQUID BEFORE GOING ONSTAGE. Rookie mistake.

So here we are, five minutes before my opening performance, and I am doing that two-year-old gotta-pee dance backstage. Unfortunately, the washro0m is located THROUGH the stage, THROUGH the audience, over by the front door. I think I can make it. I’ll forget all about it when I’m onstage. I can make it. I can make it. I can make it.

I don’t think I can make it.

en: A glass of water / de: Ein Glas Wasser / t...

The Enemy.

PRO-TIP #6: Water bottles are not intended as receptacles for urine.

Yep. Pee’d in my water bottle before going onstage. Like a boss.

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INVISIBLE!

PRO-TIP #7: That’s just gross.

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INVISIBLE!

The next day, I STILL had that headache, and my lovely billeter, Carolyn, suggested it might be tension, nerves and the like, which makes sense, given the situaton. So she suggested I go have a nice hot bath to ease my muscles. Seemed like a good idea. And I hadn’t had a proper bath in probably two years! (There isn’t a tub where I live.) So I ran the water for entirely too long, had to wait at least half an hour for the water to cease being at scalding temperature, then submerged myself and tried to relax my weary bones and muscles. To some success.

Then… something dangerous happened.

As I stood up to get out of the tub, I immediately felt far too heavy, my head was swimming, and I immediately recognized that this was a trouble situation. Somehow, I managed to flick the fan on, stick my head under the shower, and turn the cold water on. Which was cold… for a moment, then I realized I had set it to hot accidentally… then I realized that I couldn’t stay vertical to turn the water back to cold and that I needed to get down to the ground now or I would fall down and smash my head on something, so I slunk down onto the fuzzy mat beside the bath, incapable of moving from that spot for several minutes, barely staying awake, not able to keep my eyes open.

Essentially, I passed out, or went right to the verge of doing so. Never had that happen before.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

PRO-TIP #8: Don’t die.

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INVISIBLE!

Half an hour later, I was fine. No worries there. I think a combination of a strange sickness, all the hot water, and my naturally low blood temperature just meant that there was no blood in my brain at that point.

Later that day, I asked a kind gentleman which way it was to the bus stop, and he offered me a ride to the stop. He was driving off that way anyway, he said. He was giving a chipmunk a ride to the park anyway, so why not drop me off down the road? This is when he brandished a cage containing a trapped chipmunk. Part of an ‘infestation’, apparently. Anyway, at the bus stop, I realized for the first time that my headache may be accompanied by a fever.

So, my first few days were a little rough, physically. That said, all the performers around me have been no end of supportive, with hilarious NO Shows every night (not to be confused with no-shows or Noh shows), kind words, and an all around happy atmosphere. The incredible magician Keith Brown (whose business card is a playing card HOW COOL IS THAT), is even letting me use his bike to get around town! And now I am healthy! Yay!

Something that I find startling about all this is not just how grateful I am to be out here, but how grateful traveling is making me feel for everything I have at home in BC as well. I’m thrilled to be continuing my educational and adventurous experience here on the tour, but also suddenly SO EXCITED for all the amazing opportunities and people waiting for me back at home. Considering I am performing a play about a homesick man, perhaps this isn’t so strange. But still, the future is bright.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

PRO-TIP #9: You’re never alone in your battles.

I have six more performances to go here in London, and then, off to Ottawa! Then Toronto! Then… a mystery spot (perhaps New York for a week), then Saskatoon.

Almost impossible to believe I have only been here for a week! Right, now it’s time to make some event pages for the other cities, head downtown, and hand out handbills in the hopes of finding a few more audience members to have some fun at my performance tonight.

I leave you with a comment left by a happy audience member: “It got me in the feels.”

As has this trip, for me, thus far.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Stay grateful,
The Hatter
(aka Andrew Wade)

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Passive Income – Part Deux!

April 16, 2013 1 comment

Passive Income – Part Deux!

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Continuing my blogging catch-up (while sitting backstage at Performance Works on Granville Island during a cue-to-cue for Beggar’s Opera)! Late last August, I decided to undertake a consistently-blogged-about passive income project to help me focus my time toward high up-front effort activities which pay off passively over time (see: here), instead of the usual hours-for-pay model (aka: my minimum wage job). In order to do so, I followed Steve Pavlina’s suggestion and made this declaration:

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INVISIBLE!

I will successfully build a new stream of passive income by December 1st, 2012, that generates at least 80$ per month on average, and endures for a minimum of five years, and I will do this in a way that inspires hope and gives value to people anywhere in the world.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

563568_508289692551634_957395844_nNot long after I put this desire out in the world – in October, I believe – a family member came to me with a chance to reduce my rent through offering up a quarter of my place to hold product inventory, so that, while this passive income stream will not last for five years, for at least the last couple of months I have been exceeding my passive income financial goal. I find that, surprisingly and delightfully often, if I announce an intention for some goal, my friends/family/acquaintances/coworkers often very soon come to me with opportunities to help achieve what I am aspiring towards. While I am not a believer in the specific ‘Law of Intention’ philosophy, I put great stock into the idea of ‘ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.’ While there may be an aspect of asking God for help in this, it isn’t about tapping into some mystical force; instead, it is about believing in the good and kind nature of the people I know, about believing in the spirit of community. I am grateful for all your help.

Faith, Fraud & Minimum Wage

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This project does continue in the background, as the storage situation is very temporary. Ultimately, my end goal is to feel financially secure due to my passive income. This may mean that 60% of my daily expenses are covered, as an example. I admittedly don’t expect to achieve this until I am in my 50’s at the earliest.

I have not, probably to my own detriment, been actively pursuing more creative passive income streams. Instead, I have been overfilling my life with minimum wage workshifts, rehearsals, and administrative preparation for fringe festivals this summer. I really should try to take a week off sometime and spend it exclusively on important schemes… but I doubt that will happen voluntarily if opportunities for definite money (workshifts) exist. I do worry for my financial future once my current cheap living situation evaporates in the near future.

One thing I have been doing is researching dividend stocks as a much more potent place to earn, essentially, a slightly more risky but more lucrative form of interest. Certainly a few steps above my 1.2% free savings account. Not that I can make investments at the moment, but I am excited for the opportunity to do so in the future! I am amazed at how excited I am at the idea of making one-time choices to, say, put 100$ away into stocks, in order to have that 100$ earn 5$ a year, every year, for the rest of my life. I really like the idea of one-time sacrifices which lead to continued, constant, secure boosts through the future.

So perhaps it’s time to make a new goal! How about this:

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INVISIBLE!

By November 1st, 2013, my passive income streams will equal at least 120$ per month on average, as a mix of interest and creative enterprises, and I will do so in a way that inspires hope and gives value to people anywhere in the world.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Seems ambitious yet possible. And then I’ll keep raising the bar higher as time goes on.

INVISIBLE!
INVISIBLE!

Keep calm and carry on,
Andrew Wade

The Richmond Review’s 30 under 30

April 15, 2013 Leave a comment
Candace Meyer photo.

Candace Meyer photo.

One reason I keep a blog is to keep people apprised of what’s happening in my life! Unfortunately, when I have the most to say is also when I am busiest, and therefore don’t make enough time to write blog posts, so sometimes awesome events fall through the cracks. Such as this one!

In late February, I was highlighted in The Richmond Review as one of Richmond’s 30 under 30. Every year, they choose thirty notable Richmondites under thirty years old to shine a light on, and this year, I was flattered to be chosen.

Andrew Wade has fingers in acting, stage managing, writing plays, science and even police work.

Wade grew up in Richmond before heading to University of Victoria to complete a degrees in theatre and writing. He’s now back, working part-time at Science World while pursuing his true love of the arts.

http://www.richmondreview.com/entertainment/193653971.html

In all truth, a lot of the credit for this goes to The Cultch, as last May, as part of their publicity blitz for the IGNITE! Festival, they reached out to Richmond newspapers with fodder for profile stories. My play, The Romantics, was being workshopped as part of the festival. Clearly, Matthew Hoekstra and The Richmond Review remembered me!

Funny thing? Last year, my younger brother was chosen (for biking across the country to raise money for prostate cancer research). So our sister and other brothers have some catching up to do. 😛

Chirp – My Memorial

April 10, 2013 Leave a comment

Two years ago, spurred on by the pug-loving obsession of my then-girlfriend, I asked God to help me learn to care about animals.

Last night, my family’s lovebird, Chirp, died. He was seventeen and a half.

I have never been a big ‘animal’ person. It’s not a fear – despite four years as a paperboy – and it’s not a dislike, just more of an apathy. The only pet my family ever had growing up was this lovebird, who I tended to describe as being ‘like a budgie, only it chirps a third as much and three times as loud.’ The bird who was the bane of my existence whenever I was attempting to work on a writing assignment and had to deal with the focus-destroying shrills of this oblivious, tiny trumpeter.

(I am aware that a trumpeter is also another kind of bird. Where I grew up, all the streets were named after birds.)

From a grade 11 photography project back in 2003.

From a grade 11 photography project, back in 2003.

I was always the one to not-so-jokingly suggest letting the bird go free to fly about and inevitably get eaten by a nearby cat or raccoon. The usefulness of this bird escaped me. Heck, you couldn’t even hold the darn thing or have it perch on your finger unless you were VERY careful and a little lucky, or didn’t mind painful bites from a needlesharp beak. And the bird loved perching up on people’s shoulders… and then attacking their glasses. I was always afraid he would go after the mole on the back of my neck.

When cleaning his cage, I would need to distract him to go elsewhere so I could reach inside the cage without him attacking.

I don’t believe in the idea that he is now off in some heavenly jungle, flitting free. Chirp was a bird. A long-living bird, yes, but still just a bird.

He was a beautiful bird, though.

When I moved away from home nine years ago, I cherished the relative quiet and distraction-free atmosphere of the university dorms, compared to my tiny family home with nocturnal parents, a shared bedroom, and the supersonic bird.

Yesterday evening, when I was visiting at the family house, Chirp pooped on my brother’s arm, and he asked me to take the bird while he cleaned it up. Now, for the past few months at least, Chirp has been getting calmer. Rather than tearing paper bags to pieces the instant they touch the bottom of his cage, he has been curling up in them to sleep. And he has become a nuzzling, warmth-seeking creature. Despite this, yesterday evening was the first time I had held the bird in months and months, perhaps even years. And he curled right up into warmth of my hands, the softest little creature on earth.

I was the one to put him back in his cage. I was probably the last person to hold him before he died.

I just realized I have just switched to using gendered pronouns for Chirp, rather than just saying ‘the bird’.

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I’m not sure where I’m going with this. But I suppose that’s sort of the point.

My Theatrical 2012 in Pictures

February 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Yes, 2012. I realize I am somewhat late with this post, but my 2012 has thus far involved rehearsals for three shows, two full performance runs plus performances in three events, three jobs, and one adventurous and perhaps somewhat tragic not-a-relationship thing. But those are for NEXT year’s post. 🙂

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INVISIBLE!

My Theatrical 2012, in pictures!

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Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (as Wakey Faker at The Metro)

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The Mystery of Edwin Drood (as Throttle, with Fighting Chance Productions)

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4Villains.org (just helped out on the set for a day during a weekend trip to Victoria)

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INVISIBLE!

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Some filming with HTVBC in Victoria. SO MUCH FUN to be the villainous henchman, bleeding to death, laughing as he declares that he’ll tell the hero NOTHING! Then collapsing. Cliche and awesome.

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INVISIBLE!

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Ran a handful of house-party improv workshops! (Image isn’t mine – it comes care of Jayeb333 on Flickr)

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A return to Science World centre-stage shows! (With Grossology and Bubbles! And Balloons added in 2013.)

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The Great American Trailerpark Musical (as Stage Manager, with Ghost Light Projects)

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The Boys In The Band (as Donald, with Ghost Light Projects)

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A Shpadoinkle Musical! (as Frenchie, Elder Cunningham, and others, with Rock Theatre Co.)

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The Romantics (Playwright, for both The YOU Show and IGNITE! 2012 at The Cultch)

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2012 National Voice Intensive

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Golf: The Musical (with Viva Musica’s Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival)

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Building the Theatre

Fortune’s Fools (Assistant Stage Manager with Viva Musica’s Kelowna Summer Theatre Festival)

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HenryV Characters

Henry V (a semi-remount with KeepItSimple for Victoria Fringe)

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Volunteered as a Rescue Ranger for Vancouver Fringe

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Photo Andrew Wade as Dr. Van Helsing

Dracula: The Musical? (as Van Helsing! Loved the audience reaction from biting through that clove of garlic every night. With Awkward Stage Productions.)

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INVISIBLE!

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Closer (as Stage Manager, with Shift Theatre)

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Began working with The Justice Institute as an actor

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Flora The Red Menace (with Applause! Musicals. So good, I joined their next show as well!)

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Awkward Stage fundraiser – Baby It’s Cold Outside (singer)

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Revue at the Revue (as Jesus, Santa, a New Kid On The Block, and others, at A New Year’s bash with Rock Theatre Co.)

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INVISIBLE!

Okay, a relatively full year. Makes me feel a little more like I’ve been using my time well. (Feel free to compare it to last year: https://adewade.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/my-theatrical-2011-in-pictures/ .) Looking forward to another full year!

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Andrew, The Mighty

January 21, 2013 Leave a comment

PearlUSI have never been a physically imposing individual.

Back in elementary school, I latched myself onto being best friends with the second angriest kid in the school so that I could live vicariously through his fights (and hide behind him when needed). I’ve managed to best my mother’s 4’10” of height, but my growth spurt didn’t happen until grade 10 or 11. Instead, while out on the playground, I would always be mapping escape routes, where I could go, who I could run to if things got rough. Not that they ever really did.

Which is a roundabout way of saying, I’ve never been a tough guy.

I have only ever bought one item through craigslist – a Nintendo DS with Pokemon Pearl. I was 20 years old at the time, wanted to save a few dollars, and wasn’t averse to getting one second hand, so I looked up a seller on craigslist and phoned him up. He suggested we meet at a particular skytrain station I wasn’t familiar with. We chose a time, I said sure, and hung up. Then I looked up the station.

End of the line. Into distant reaches I had never ventured.

Started sounding sketchy to me, but as I had recently made a life decision to inherently trust in strangers until they give me a reason not to (and this wasn’t reason enough), I strengthened my resolve and headed out that extra thirty minutes on a skytrain I wasn’t familiar with, along a route I’d never taken, right to the end of the line, my mind racing with expectations of getting roughed up for the 150$ cash in my pocket. Making a large cash transaction with a stranger at a skytrain station. Yup.

Minibosses!

This shirt.

I finally get there.

I’d told the guy I would be wearing a bright orange Minibosses t-shirt for easy identification. When I step off the train, fully expecting a couple of large dudes in hoodies… I am instead approached by a meek, skinny kid a head shorter than me, perhaps 14 years old, tripping over his words as he apologizes for losing the plastic stylus and that he hopes that isn’t too much of a problem and he is so sorry about that but the game and the DS are still good see I can turn it on see?

And behind him, also as nervous as a guinea pig in a crowded room, is a friend he had clearly brought as muscle, also a head shorter than me, a little stouter, but still tiny compared to my 5’6” frame. For the first time in my life, I was the intimidating, imposing giant, physically in charge of the situation. I was the big man.

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I paid for my new DS and laughed as I stepped back onto a skytrain. As the train rumbled on, I saw how I towered over the trees and buildings below, a giant grin on my face.

Cheers,
Andrew Wade

Words of advice from my sister.

December 23, 2012 Leave a comment

you have so much talent and so much quirk, but to own that quirk and talent you need to be confident in it. Ace every audition because you knew you could do it. Be a man that girls want to come to because you are smiling and confident in who you are. You have everything at your feet, it just shys away because you havent graspedd it

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Will do.  😉

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